Marathi Experimental Theatre: A Sociological Enquiry
Marathi Experimental theatre: a sociological enquiry
Sociology of art is quite a neglected field in India. Art has always been seen as something very personal and hence individual centric. Sociologically speaking, however, every art is a political statement. The important contribution of sociology to the study of culture and arts has been to demonstrate the necessity of understanding the work of art and role of the artist in their social, political, and historical contexts. Experimental theatre is a general term for various movements in Western theatre that began in the late 19th century with Alfred Jarry and his Ubu plays as a rejection of both the age in particular and, the dominant ways of writing and producing plays in general. Marathi language experimental theatre is considered as something which gives a different world view. Marathi experimental theatre is believed to have started from playwrights Tendulkar, Alekar and Elkunchwar in 1970s. In the present study experimental plays from the time period of 1990s till 2014 are taken into account. Several issues of experimental theatre; right from the ambiguity surrounding its definition to its differentiation from commercial theatre are unresolved. Is experimental theatre trying to create a new cultural space? If so what is the purpose behind it? What are reasons behind confining its performances to certain places? Who are the practitioners of experimental theatre? What is the class, caste, gender dimensions of people associated with experimental theatre? These questions are largely unanswered. On this backdrop the present paper tries to analyze the relationship between contemporary experimental theatre and space in Pune city which is considered as the cultural capital of Maharashtra. This paper also attempts to explore the complex interplay of aesthetic, social, economic, cultural and political factors in case of Marathi experimental theatre.